How is it that two photographers can visit the same landscape at the same time, but one of them manages to take a better photo? It’s not about equipment, or camera settings, or sharpness. Instead, it’s all about composition. Composition is how you arrange the elements of your photograph to guide a viewer’s eye. How do you pick a good composition for your landscape photos? There are two elements that matter more than anything else: simplicity and visual weight. In this article, I’ll share some tips for using them correctly.
One of the windiest nights I’ve ever taken pictures turned into perhaps the single most rewarding — and frightening — landscape photography experience of my life. I was on the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley, a place I had visited twice in the past, though under much tamer conditions. This night, the gusts of wind were far greater than I had seen before, and they kicked up a layer of sand that made for amazing sunset photos. But as the day came to a close, it was clear I had entered uncharted waters.
When you’re out taking nighttime landscape photos — Milky Way photography, or photos of the Aurora Borealis — one of the most difficult tasks is to compose your photos exactly how you want. The reason? It’s simply too dark to see anything. Looking through the viewfinder on a DSLR, it can be tough to make out any of the scene’s important features. Live view might be even worse, often showing absolutely no detail at all. The most common solution is to guess at your composition, wait 20 or 30 seconds for the exposure to finish, and adjust afterwards via trial and error. It’s a slow process — but there’s another method. This is one of the few times when the best option is to use your camera’s highest ISO.
When photographing a solar eclipse, there are a few very important considerations you have to keep in mind to avoid damage to your camera equipment or to your eyes. In this article, we will take a closer look at where you should physically be at the time of totality, what equipment you should have on hand, what safety precautions to take before, during and after the solar eclipse, and what framing and composition aspects to consider. Keep in mind that totality might only last a couple of minutes, so if you are not fully prepared, you might miss the opportunity to photograph this rare phenomenon.
There are some popular conditions for landscape photography that every photographer already knows: sunrise and sunset, storm clouds, fog, and so on. But one that doesn’t get mentioned very often is the light produced by a full moon on a clear night. The subtleties of moonlight aren’t always visible to the naked eye, but long exposure photography can lift the curtain. The results may have hints of familiarity, but they also have unique characteristics that make them stand out from typical, daytime photos. Photographing landscapes under the full moon (also referred to as “moonscapes”) is a process with its own set of challenges, so I will explore it in more detail in this article, and hopefully provide some tips for those who are interested in trying it out.
Five months ago, I bought my first ultra-wide lens — the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 — after holding out for years. I’ve always flirted with the idea of such a crazy perspective, but I kept finding reasons not to purchase one myself. A 24mm lens had worked well as my widest angle for years, and I rarely found myself wanting anything more. Now that I’ve seen the other side, though, have my attitudes changed? After going on two major trips with the 14-24mm f/2.8, the insane perspective has started to grow on me, but I still have plenty of reservations. Here’s how I’d sum things up, including my recommendations for anyone else considering making such a leap for themselves.
Normally, if you’re using a tripod, camera shake isn’t something you’ll have to worry very much about. However, there are some obvious exceptions. If you’ve ever found yourself taking pictures in heavy winds, you’ll know the difficulties of capturing sharp photos — particularly if you’re using a telephoto lens. This seems like an impossible situation; what do you do when a tripod isn’t enough to stop your camera from shaking? Luckily, there are ways to improve sharpness even in windy conditions and come away with photos that are completely usable. I’ll cover some of the most important here.
One of the challenges of nighttime photography — particularly Milky Way and star photography — is to get enough depth of field. If you’re focused at the horizon, and you’re using the widest possible aperture on your lens, how could your foreground possibly be sharp? Yet, if you look at galleries online, you’ll see countless photographers capturing perfectly sharp photos of a landscape underneath the night sky. What techniques are they using? In this quick guide, I’ll lay out a few useful tips for capturing sharp landscape photos at night.
Fundamentally, landscape photography is about the landscape that you capture. Although your subject isn’t the only important part of a photo — light and composition are also crucial — it is the cornerstone of a successful image. Even the best photographers in the world need to capture interesting subjects, or their work won’t have any appeal. In the article below, I’ll cover some of the top tips to finding great subjects for landscape photography, from in-depth planning to scouting for locations.
Four seasons is a marvelous gift of our planet to landscape photographers, at least in certain parts of the world. In the past, I preferred anything but winter. I always impatiently awaited fall colors, peaking around late October and beginning of November, or the lush green tones of mid-April. But in the past few years, I learned to love winter too. Well at least when there is snow and frost. Here are my tips on how to photograph snow in cold weather.